Monday, July 24, 2017

Grandma, I'm Thinking Of You...

Shades of  my tiny five-foot grandma. I saw her, standing at the back door, take on her grown sons -- my uncles -- and yell, "WIPE YOUR FEET!"
     Which they did, sheepishly, like the little kids they once were.

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Dumpster Diving

This has been our friend for the past two months. 

Broken chairs, replaced toilets, rotting boards...anything and everything has made its way into the gaping maw of our Large Orange Friend, with our blessings. It looks terrible in the driveway -- but like the smelly dog who cheerfully takes care of your leftovers, you can't always have perfection.

Hey -- we resemble that! 
Last Thursday, our contractor friend said the dumpster was going away today (Monday). That meant ramping up the throwing-away process -- and fast. The Brick spent Saturday afternoon getting rid of old drywall from the garage. Yesterday, we spent much of the day dragging out all sorts of items, and topping it off with selections from the wood trashpile behind the garage. Daughter #2 and Son #1 showed up in the evening to help finish off the job. (Either they were really kind...or stupid. Either way, we were very grateful.) 

     It's still HOT, with a bit of cooling-off toward night. Someday, we hope to take a vacation. Go swimming. Have a picnic. ANYTHING that doesn't mean sorting through fabric, filling up bags and throwing wood, javelin-style, into the dumpster. 

     It's full, by the way, and waiting for pickup. I won't be sorry to see it go.

Abby, on the other hand, stays. She's priceless1

AUGUST 27th is the deadline for buying your senior national parks pass at $10. (Actually, it's $20, if you buy it online -- $10 for the pass, $10 for the processing fee.) On August 28, the price goes up to $80! If you're 62 or older, you should seriously consider getting this NOW.

A black cop, doing her job, is murdered while on duty. How come we're not hearing more outrage about HER death?

Ten ways the Victorians poisoned themselves. My old favorite, fabric dyes, isn't even on this list.  (From Listverse)

Dealing with the heat, when you live in a truck.  (From Inside the Box)

"What's with all the haters?"  From Thrifty Mom in Boise... the way I've been feeling lately.

What they found when renovating a dimestore in a small town in Michigan. (Our cousins own this place!)

Basting a quilt by using pool noodles. I knew about storing them this way, but makes sense. (From Quilt Digest)

A Swiss couple went out to check on their cattle -- and disappeared. Seventy-five years later, their bodies emerge from the snow!  (This happens more than you think: like the two young Japanese climbers whose bodies were found on the Matterhorn -- 45 years after they disappeared.)

Six normal people who made split-second decisions to do something crazy -- and brave.  (From Cracked) Also from them:

Five historical buildings with weird hidden stairs, buildings and such. Including the Lincoln Memorial! And yet another one:

Five everyday places with dark historical secrets. Case in point: Hitler's suicide bunker is topped by a kids' playground!

Cats and rats, living together.  I don't know what I think about this...but the Creepy Index inches up every time I think about it.

The quinoa whisperer...and a look at gardening, Alaska-style.  (From Survive and Thrive)

Martin Landau died last week. An elegant man.

Martin Landau-Mission-1968.jpg

John Heard also died -- only 72.  He is probably known best as the dad from Home Alone, but he had some incredibly complex roles, including 'good' guys who are really 'bad.' (But you don't know it until the very end.) An amazing actor.

Have a good week. Stay cool, and go SOMEWHERE.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Get In Touch With Your Inner Kindergartner

I thought this quite interesting...

I teach students how to do this with watercolors, but have never had much success with crayons. 

Looking forward to trying this!

Visit Kitchen Table Classroom for the particulars.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Slow Progress

Still hot. 

Everything feels muggy and sticky. The refrigerator started dripping a pool of water while the Brick was still at mandolin music camp, causing momentary panic. Fortunately, he was able to tell me which nozzle to turn off, to get the water to stop. (It was the one for the icemaker.)

     The dogs find a cool spot on the tile or rug, and lay as flat as possible under the fan.


Sleep gives Mr. Charles some relief -- he's been scratching a lot because of allergies.

We got a little rain, yesterday and today. (Thank you, God.) The grass resembles plaid -- half brown and half green.

Son #1 has been sick, keeping him from working more on the master bathroom. (Poor guy.) Being here in the heat wouldn't have benefitted him much, anyways.

I trudge through the work. Various movies have been keeping me awake, including Day After Tomorrow and San Andreas (disaster movies), goofy episodes of Night Court and Keeping Up Appearances...Robin Hood, the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I also watched the full run of Planet of the Apes movies -- which have been surprisingly good.

     Maybe it helps to watch them at 2 in the morning. 

Battle for the planet of the apes.jpg
This one was still a little weird, even at 2 a.m.

 I saw two of the new Apes, too, with Andy Serkis as Caesar. (And they were good, though the dogs were nervous about all the growling and snarling.)

No coffee. That's the Brick's job - I make horrible coffee. A strange menu, consisting of watermelon and cherries (both on sale at King Sooper's), mac and cheese, seafood salad, eggs, freezer burritos (25 cents each)..and dozens of gumballs. Extra-strong tea, plus a glass of iced grape juice now and then.

The Brick called. The guys are coming home a night early! They'll be home late Friday night.

     So glad. Maybe I can actually get some sleep.

I'm not griping. This is just the way life is right now. And finally, we are starting to make some progress. Which is wonderful...especially since the dumpster is going away on Monday.

    Life goes on.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Sandal Time In The Summer

Sewrella has a wonderful summer project:

Using plain flipflops and some simple crochet to make stylin' Greek sandals. 

Flipflops are inexpensive, to start with -- and many are on clearance right now.

Here's the link, plus full instructions. This might be the start to one of your Christmas presents!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

"Just Enough Pain to Learn Compassion"

John Roberts spoke recently for his son's graduation at the Cardigan Mountain School in New Hampshire. Here's part of what he said:

“From time to time, in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time, so that you don’t take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck again, from time to time, so that you will be conscious of the roll of chance in life, and understand that your success is not completely deserved, and the failure of others is not completely deserved either. And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. I hope you will be ignored, so you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion."

“In a certain sense,” Roberts said, "you should not be yourself, you should try to become something better.”

Wow. Are you listening, too?

Christmas in July

Only six months til Christmas. 

Hard to believe, isn't it? With temps like these, it seems incredible that this sort of white stuff is ever going to happen again.

Actually, reading about Christmas -- and even getting in a holiday-themed movie now and then -- has a cooling effect during these sweltering days. Why not get a step ahead, and purchase a Christmas present now? Or make a project, like these baby print-related gifts.  (The 'Gift A Day' series run by The Prudent Homemaker is also very good.)  Country Living magazine has a whole list of 50+ diy gifts, as well, for your family and friends.

Edible presents will hang out in your freezer or on the shelf until needed. (This batch is fun, too.)

Here are some other ideas to get you started. 

*Start saving money. Five bucks a week, saved from now through mid-December, will give you approx. $100. That can buy a lot of extras, if done wisely.

*Don't forget the clearance areas...or the dollar store.   Stocking stuffers can be surprisingly inexpensive at the dollar store. But my favorite, by far, is the clearance section.  Summer is one of Wal-Mart's favorite times to clear out everything quickly -- like the rack of beach towels, marked down to $1.50 EACH, I saw this week at our local store. (I literally followed the clerk down the aisle as he was taking them upfront. Got the best of the batch too, including butterfly and 'Frozen' patterns.)

*Buy staples, a little at a time. Nuts, chocolate chips, marshmallow creme, cans of condensed milk -- these are used in a variety of dishes.
         Even though I don't generally start buying seafood now for the Seven Fish Dishes, I do look for sauces, canned soups and such to use. Bacon freezes well -- so does shrimp and salmon.

*Freeze or can fresh fruit.  Use it as a present -- or a sauce, garnish or ingredient in a special dish. While it's in season, you won't find better prices...and fruit that actually tastes good. (I am so tired of 'cardboard' fruits at the wrong time of year.)

Peaches are coming soon to Colorado -- another month or so.

*Go through your things. What do you already own that could be used for projects or presents? This will have a double benefit: you'll keep Extra Stuff down to a minimum by using what you've got.

*Check garage sales or thrift shops for craft materials. Partly-finished kits, skeins of yarn, beads and fabrics are often at rockbottom prices right now. It's also a good time to look for small gifts like crystal stemware, and clothes to wear at those special events.

*Ditto for Christmas decorations: lights, balls, garlands, candles and such.

*Dream about recipes. Now's the time to wander around holiday cookbooks or internet sites, looking for Good Stuff. (Like this batch, from Taste of Home.)

Here are some more posts on planning for the holidays -- this one and this one.
     This blog helps, too.

The time will go by faster than you think. 

Grandma, I'm Thinking Of You...

Shades of  my tiny five-foot grandma. I saw her, standing at the back door, take on her grown sons -- my uncles -- and yell, "W...